What Is It?
Turo (previously known as “RelayRides”) is the Airbnb for cars. You rent cars from normal people just like you instead of an agency. The owners get to monetize vehicles they aren’t using. The joys of the sharing economy!
How Does It Work?
I want to rent a car: You sign up via Facebook, Google or your email and get approval to rent a car. Enter your dates and location and select from a variety of cars. The owner decides whether or not to approve you (usually within 8 hours but sometimes you can instant book just like Airbnb). You meet the owner (sometimes they deliver) and ride off into the sunset.
I want to list my car: Create a free listing, which includes snapping some nice photos of your ride and writing an enticing description so people will want to rent your car. Your car must meet some eligibility requirements (loosely defined as in “fair” condition with no more than 100,000 miles on it). When someone requests your vehicle, you decide whether or not to rent it to them and coordinate a pick-up. Then you execute your own walk-through, making sure to note the mileage and gas. It’s really no sweat because your vehicle is covered by Turo with a $1M insurance policy and 24/7 roadside assistance. Boom!
Delivery of the vehicle is the only tricky part. There are generally three options:
- Owners deliver to a predetermined area around town
- Owners deliver to airport
- Travelers pick up car
A couple of airports (SFO & LAX) have a “Turo Valet” service that allows you to drop off your car in the Turo lot and they handle the rentals for you.
Our Favorite Part
Turo has gone through a name change, but also a re-branding. The original concept was hourly rentals, which put this startup in direct competition with the likes of Avis-owned Zipcar, and even Uber and Lyft. The new vision is longer-term car shares, peer-to-peer rentals of a few days that allow travelers to use cars suited exactly to their needs. The company estimates that its rentals are on average 35% cheaper than a rental car company’s vehicles. And Turo now operates in 2,500 cities and 300 airports! We like that!